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Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

O-1 visa is a great visa for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.


One of the O-1 visa requirements is a consultation with a U.S. peer group, labor organization or management organization regarding the nature of the work you will be doing in the U.S. and your qualifications.

Requirements and eligibility



Along with your passport, visa fee receipt, and the notice of decision by the USCIS, the following is a concise list of all the documents you need to apply for an O-1 visa:


  • Written consultation from someone with expertise in your field. 

    • Ex:  a peer group, as relevant to your area of expertise .


  • Copy of the written work contract that must include a summary of the agreement under which you will be employed.


  • Document explaining the activities and events you will participate in.

    • Must include the nature, start and end dates.

    • And an itinerary of these activities/events. 


  • Proof of your extraordinary abilities or achievements. Some examples are:

    • Proof you have received an award;

    • Published articles relevant to your field;

    • Contributed original research to your field;

    • You are a member of a highly distinguished association or organization; or 

    • Have been paid a high salary for your skills and contribution


  • Written consultation 

    • Support of an individual with extraordinary ability in athletics or the arts: must be from the appropriate labor organization.

    • Support of an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television: must come from an appropriate labor organization and a management organization with expertise in the skill area involved


  • Proof of your extraordinary abilities or achievements

    • Should establish that you have substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1.

    • For motion picture or television production, establish that significant production, including pre- and post-production, has taken place outside the United States and will take place inside the United States, and that your continuing participation is essential to the successful completion of the production.


  • After petition is approved

    • You can apply for your visa in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate

    • Department of State (DOS) establishes visa application processing and issuance fees

Application process


  • File Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (U.S. employer, U.S. agent, or foreign employer through a U.S. agent).

  • Include required evidence according to the form instructions.

  • File it at least 45 days before the date of employment. 

  • In addition to Form I-129, the petitioner must submit the documentary evidence discussed in the previous item.


  • Employer or agent should file Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, 

  • Include the required evidence according to the form instructions. 

  • Must petition for you in connection with the services of an O-1 artist or athlete, 

  • Both you and the O-1 artist or athlete must each have your own Form I-129. 

  • Employer or agent cannot file your Form I-129 more than one year before the artist or athlete will begin employment.

  • File it at least 45 days before the date of employment. 

  • In addition to Form I-129, the petitioner must submit the documentary evidence discussed in the previous item.

Processing times and Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

With each step discussed above in mind, we can make an estimate on what the processing time will be. However, there are a number of factors that can drastically change the amount of time it will take.


  • Form I-129: average of six months depending on caseload. 

    • Premium processing shortens your petition’s processing time to 15 calendar days

  • Take into consideration the amount of time it will take to gather and organize the evidence required to prove your eligibility.

  • If you are outside the U.S. and must go through consular processing, the O-1 processing time may be extended depending on when the consulate or embassy schedules your interview appointment.


As an O non-immigrant, you may be admitted to the United States for the validity period of the petition, plus a period of up to 10 days before the validity period begins and 10 days after the validity period ends. You are only authorized to work during the validity period of the petition.

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